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Nigeria government pledges to find abducted girls

ABDUCTED: A sign from the school where the schoolgirls were taken (PA)

THE NIGERIAN government has pledged to do everything in its power to rescue the 190 girls who were abducted from their school on April 14.

Security chiefs, ministers, state governors and religious leaders yesterday met to discuss the issue, following criticism of the government’s lack of response on the kidnapping.

This week a Guardian comment piece asked "200 girls are missing in Nigeria – so why doesn't anybody care?"

One of the girls' fathers, whose identity is being protected for security reasons, said he just wanted to see his daughter safe.

He told BBC Hausa service: "We will only say the meeting has achieved something tangible when we see our children back home.”

The 230 students were originally taken from the school in Chibok, in Nigeria's northeast, but about 40 girls managed to escape.

The girls were about to sit their final year exam and are thought to be mostly aged 16-18.

Earlier in the day that the girls were abducted, some 71 people were killed in a Boko Haram attack on the capital Abuja.

After Thursday's security meeting, Ekiti state Governor Kayode Fayemi described the abduction as "the issue of the moment".

"We must do everything to ensure that these abducted children are retrieved and protected. And the military assured us they're doing everything in order to achieve this objective," he said.

Reacting to the abduction, British foreign secretary William Hague said: “I condemn this cowardly act and those responsible for it. We stand ready to provide assistance to help the Nigerian government ensure that these children can be returned to their families in safety, and to bring to justice those responsible.

"This attack follows other reports of Boko Haram’s abduction of women and girls, the barbaric murder of schoolchildren and the use of sexual violence. There is no possible justification for such callous acts, that intentionally target the most vulnerable people in the cruellest way.

"The UK is a firm ally and friend of the people of Nigeria and we will continue to offer staunch support and assistance as they combat the threat posed by Boko Haram, and address the wider issues raised by this attack.”

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